There is a lot of talk nowadays about having a pot-bellied pig as a pet. However, people have actually been talking about them since the 1980’s.
This dwarf pig breed from the farms of Vietnam can live between 12 and 20 years. The main difference between it and other breeds is its peculiar physiognomy and short stature, in addition to its black coloration.
While a common pig can weigh over 300 kilos, pot-bellied pigs usually weigh between 40 and 80 kilos. The sizes of their bodies also vary between 40 and 50 centimeters.
However, pigs need proper hygiene, nutrition and physical conditioning to develop well. They do not need much of their owner’s time, though, and they’re very intelligent.
Our goal in this article is to summarize the main “pro’s” of adopting a pot-bellied pig as a pet and to give advice for taking care of them.
Why to Have a Pot-Bellied Pig as a Pet
Dogs and cats are solidly at the top of the “most beloved pets” list. However, there are more exotic animals that are equally capable of filling your home with joy and being loyal, affectionate pets.
Here is a summary of the advantages of adopting a pot-bellied pig as a pet.
They have a docile, curious personality
They’re much more than just a cute face. A pot-bellied pig’s personality is docile, curious and energetic. They are hardly ever aggressive. With the right motivation, they’re willing to play, run and try out new activities. Thus, pot-bellied pigs can be great for growing kids.
Pot-bellied pigs are very expressive and can be quite interactive, allowing them to emotionally bond with their owners. They love to be petted, enjoy running around with others, and take great pleasure in being in the company of humans and other pets.
They are easy to train
Many people are unaware of the fact that pigs are very intelligent animals with the ability to learn quickly and easily. With proper guidance, they can be trained just like dogs and cats. They even respond to their name when called and walk alongside their owners just like dogs.
Many pet pigs also learn to do their business where you teach them to. Not only that, but they are also capable of memorizing and performing tricks, and responding to commands.
They are clean and don’t shed
Although prejudice may tell us otherwise, pigs are very clean animals that do not like to live in dirty environments. Like almost all mammals, they have fur, but very little compared to dogs and cats. Another interesting fact is that they can take care of cleaning themselves, for the most part.
Basic Tips for Keeping a Pot-Bellied Pig as a Pet
When you remove a wild animal from its natural habitat, you have to be careful. You also have to provide him with proper conditions for healthy development. A pot-bellied pig as a pet will need good nutrition, consistent hygiene and regular exercise.
1. A balanced diet
Pot-bellied pigs are omnivorous and can eat many different types of food. In fact, they really like to eat. However, their daily diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables (about 70% of their diet). And like all mammals, they need lots of fresh, clean water to stay hydrated.
Pot-bellied pigs should not eat commercial feed produced for common pigs. They’re designed to fatten the animals, instead of nourishing them. An animal eating this type of food can become overweight very quickly.
In the United States, there is commercial feed available that is suitable for domestic dwarf pigs, and the feeding instructions can be appropriate for a balanced weight. However, it is still difficult to find pig food like this in Europe.
There are several grain-based feeds that can be used as the base of a pig’s diet. However, the best option is usually homemade food prepared in accordance with a specialized veterinarian’s recommendations.
2. Hygiene and environment
Pot-bellied pigs are clean and do not smell. On the contrary, it is a lack of a clean environment that makes the animal dirty and leaves it with a foul aroma.
Therefore, keeping your pot-bellied pig clean is easy if you provide him with a hygienic environment. It’s also a good idea to bathe him once every two months. This is good for their skin and fur, especially in the summer.
Since they hail from a temperate climate, they do best in environments between 19ºC and 25ºC. They are vulnerable to extreme heat and cold, so pay close attention to the temperature of their living area.
3. Physical exercise and tips
In their natural habitat, pot-bellied pigs walk freely through farmlands and mate quite frequently. This means that they are accustomed to being high-energy. As a pet, a pot-bellied pig will need physical exercise and space to move freely in order to maintain a healthy weight.
If you provide your pet pig with good nutrition, exercise, and a clean environment, they do not require very much else in terms of their health. However, you do need to vaccinate them periodically, just like with dogs and cats.